Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>Social Policy and Social Work>Research

Our research

Furthering social progress through cutting edge research into real world issues.

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work at York is a world class research community well known for its emphasis on theoretically-rich and empirically-grounded research that directly influences policy and practice.

The city of York has a long tradition as a leading voice for social reform. Our vision is for the department to be the stewards of this historical legacy, ensuring York remains recognised internationally as a beacon for social progress.

We analyse complex human and social situations to find solutions to problems. We evaluate current systems and engage our expertise with the latest methods to deliver social change and to improve people's lives.

We are third in the UK for research excellence and joint first for the impact of our research

(Times Higher Education's ranking of the Research Excellence Framework 2014)

Research strengths

Our vibrant community of academic staff, research staff and PhD students is organised across seven research themes. 

Through these themes we lead intellectual debates in the applied social sciences, pushing conceptual, methodological and theoretical dimensions of social policy and social work research. We place a strong emphasis on knowledge exchange and impact, championing applied research that influences policy and practice in the UK and beyond.

Impact and engagement

We believe that achieving impact is fundamental to the integrity of our research.

Through a combination of academic rigour and applied research, our work makes a difference to international, national and local communities by driving evidence-based improvements to policy and practice.


The Centre for Housing Policy has a 25 year record of academically excellent and policy-relevant research.

Centres and networks

We collaborate with our colleagues across the University and beyond to undertake unique research projects, tackling the issues facing today's society. 

Major Funded Projects

We are supported by large grants and endowments, ensuring the sustainability of our research activity. 

University research themes

We view the themes as a mechanism to support expansion of our current and future research activity.

We lead collaboration across the University's research themes – areas of research excellence that cross departmental boundaries. We have strong partnerships within three themes: